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Looking Ahead to 2017: Why On-Demand Works for Retail

As the New Year quickly approaches in the coming weeks, we’re here to share a new blog series, “Looking Ahead to 2017: On-Demand Trends.” Check back each week as we highlight various trends across industries. Don’t miss last week’s post on the foodservice industry.

There’s no doubt that the retail industry is a significant driver behind our economy - it’s America’s largest private sector employer. Retail is everywhere, making jobs highly accessible to job seekers and highly desirable to employers. On-demand work is no stranger to the industry either. Forbes highlighted the affiliation in August, citing the connection between on-demand work and retail as having a “profound and lasting impact on business”.

With 2017 inching closer, here are two seemingly polar opposite considerations driven by the same trend - online shopping - that will shape on-demand retail employment.

Warehouse vs. Technology Needs

Online sales are projected to reach $523 billion by 2020 in the United States. What this means for on-demand retail workers is continued and increased opportunities for working warehouse shifts. Retailers should be prepared for increased warehouse needs, while on-demand workers should consider this type of work as an alternative to traditional customer-facing retail jobs.

On the other end of the spectrum, more more online shoppers means retailers need more customer service resources to serve them. While the pre-online shopping era meant an ample amount of face-to-face interaction for retail workers, this is no longer always the case. On-demand retail workers will need to consider not only in-person customer service skills, but they will also need to acquire the necessary technology skills to better provide virtual customer service.

December 13, 2016 | Tricia Cagua